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Fortune From German Conglomerate Undergirds Family’s Giving

Published: 7/15/2018 11:12:02 AM
Modified: 7/15/2018 11:15:43 AM

Hartford — With $23.6 million in net assets, according to its 2016 tax return, the Emily Landecker Foundation ranks among the top Upper Valley philanthropies.

Yet that wealth constitutes only a tiny sliver of the fortune of the Landecker Foundation’s president and “original member”: Andrea Reimann-Ciardelli, of Hanover.

Reimann-Ciardelli’s husband and children are also directors of the Landecker Foundation, according to that tax return.

Forbes magazine currently estimates Reimann-Ciardelli’s net worth at $1.1 billion, and has dubbed her the wealthiest resident of New Hampshire.

“That’s inaccurate,” said Michael Cahoon, the Hanover accountant who prepared the Landecker Foundation’s 2016 tax return. “That one is an overestimation.”

Cahoon declined to elaborate, say who Emily Landecker is or was, or provide additional details about his client’s financial position. Reimann-Ciardelli did not wish to be interviewed, he said.

The family prefers stay out of the public eye, Cahoon said: “From their perspective, they want their privacy; they want to be good citizens, contribute to the community.”

“Some people want the name recognition, some don’t,” he added. “In general, that family does not want the name recognition.”

But how any individual accumulates a fortune of $1 billion or more is, for many people, inherently interesting. According to stories published in Forbes and multiple business and general interest publications, Reimann-Ciardelli’s fortune was generated from the sale of an ownership stake in a German chemical and consumer products company that she inherited from her father.

Reimann-Ciardelli’s father, Albert Reimann, died in 1984, according to Forbes. Reimann had been the owner and chief executive of Benckiser N.V., a specialty chemical company based in Germany that was founded in 1823 and expanded into consumer markets in the 1950s.

After his death, Reimann’s ownership stake in the company was divided among his nine adopted children, according to Handelsblatt, a German financial newspaper. Reimann-Ciardelli sold her stake in the company in 2003, according to Bloomberg.

The Landecker Foundation was incorporated in 2004. It was determined to be exempt from federal taxes in 2005, according to a letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on file with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Unit. Since then, the foundation has reported 10 separate contributions from the “estate of Albert Reimann” for a total of $28 million. All of the reported outside contributions to the Landecker Foundation have come from the Reimann estate, according to the foundation’s tax returns.

The foundation makes grants to tax-exempt organizations “engaged in charitable, scientific, literary, educational or other exempt purposes,” according to its tax return. “Qualified charities should be located in the Upper Connecticut River Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont.”

In practice, the foundation’s giving has extended beyond this region.

Over its life, Landecker’s tax returns show it has contributed $480,000 to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y.; $375,000 to the University of New Hampshire in Durham; $340,000 to DKMS America, a German cancer research organization’s American affiliate, based in New York City; and $300,000 to Emory University, in Atlanta.

Major local beneficiaries of Landecker’s philanthropy include the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, in Quechee, which received $281,000, and the Upper Valley Land Trust, which received $268,000.

All of which pales beside the financial boost that Landecker has given to the Sports Venue Foundation, the developer and operator of the Upper Valley Aquatic Center: $6.8 million.

— Rick Jurgens

Valley News

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